pull up from 15 yards. 

JD Colarusso and Alex Ready relished the opportunity. 

“Neither of us knew what to expect coming in, but it’s been an awesome experience so far,” Ready said. 

"> PLL Emergency Goalies JD Colarusso, Alex Ready Using Utah as Showcase | USA Lacrosse Magazine


PLL Emergency Goalies JD Colarusso, Alex Ready Using Utah as Showcase

Most people would not want to stand within 50 feet of the goal, let alone inside of the crease, when the Chaos and their “Bomb Squad” pull up from 15 yards. 

JD Colarusso and Alex Ready relished the opportunity. 

“Neither of us knew what to expect coming in, but it’s been an awesome experience so far,” Ready said. 

Such is the mentality of the Premier Lacrosse League’s two emergency backup goalies. The pair might have the most unique perspective on the Championship Series and the PLL “bubble,” at Real Salt Lake Academy. The roommates have gone through the same protocols and quarantines like the other 150-plus players who have descended on Herriman, Utah. Yet, they stand apart. That includes what they wear. There’s no Archers orange or Waterdogs purple pinnies, but instead just a white t-shirt underneath their chest protectors. 

During training camp last week, they spent 20 minutes with each team (four teams the first day, three the next). They hopped into drills or took shots after practice — including an impromptu two-point contest with the Chaos. 

They turned some heads in the process. 

“They played really well,” said Chaos defenseman Jarrod Neumann, who won last year’s fastest shot competition at the All-Star Game. “Made a ton of good saves and saw a lot of rubber. I was very impressed with them.”

“Ultimately, I can only control what I can control — my attitude and how I work each day — so I can be ready if a situation were to come up.” — Alex Ready

When Ready received a call from Seth Tierney, the chairman of the PLL’s Lacrosse Advisory Board, about the opportunity to come to Utah, he was initially on the fence about it. A couple days earlier, Chrome head coach Tim Soudan had informed him he did not make the team’s 22-man travel roster — instead opting for veterans John Galloway and Brett Queener. 

Ready, who started in Chrome’s first-pick playoff bracket game against the Archers last year, eventually decided that it was an unbelievable opportunity to showcase to all seven head coaches what he could do and help kickstart his journey to find a way back onto a roster next year. 

“My approach has been to work as hard as I can, really soak in the experience, and try not to think about the situation of if someone were to get hurt or sick,” he said. “Ultimately, I can only control what I can control — my attitude and how I work each day — so I can be ready if a situation were to come up.” 

With only two goalies on each of the seven PLL rosters, Ready or Colarusso would suit up for a Championship Series game in light of injury or illness — like in the NHL, where teams enlist the services of rec players, and, in some cases, accountants.  

This duo’s credentials are more noteworthy. A 2019 graduate of The University of Denver, Ready tallied the second-most saves in school history and was the 2016 Big East Goalie of the Year. Colarusso was a first-team All-American in 2018 and named the USILA’s Most Outstanding Player of the Year. That year they faced each other in NCAA quarterfinals, though the game was publicized more for the faceoff battle between Trevor Baptiste and TD Ierlan. Colarusso and Albany prevailed 15-13 and made the first final four in school history. 

The playoff run was the culmination of the dream for the New York native who idolized Queener, a Great Danes legend, while growing up. But during Albany’s playoff run, Colarusso struggled to get out of bed most days and felt exhausted all the time. He thought the fatigue was simply the result of a long and grueling season. More concerning was the weight loss. Though he started the year around 180 pounds, by the time he took the field at Gillette Stadium against Yale, he was closer to 150. 

“That was one of my worst games ever,” Colarusso said. 

He surrendered fifteen goals while only making six saves and was pulled in the second half of the 20-11 loss. The problems persisted a couple days later when Colarusso was hanging out at a friend’s house and had to rush to the bathroom “almost every two minutes.” Upon returning to his family’s home in Poughquag, NY, he downed a couple bottles of Gatorade and water then went to sleep.

Around 6 a.m. the next day, his mom, Pam, noticed all the empty bottles and sensed something was wrong. She called JD’s sister, Anna, who was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes around the age of 9. Anna pricked JD’s finger and checked his blood glucose level. It was in the 600s. That put him at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis — a serious complication that results when high blood sugar levels cause acidic substances called ketones to build up to dangerous levels and can result in a coma. 

They rushed JD to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with Type-1. He spent the next two days there recuperating and trying to come to terms with what his life would look like moving forward. 

“I’ve tried to take it day by day and get used to the changes,” Colarusso said. 


He was drafted by the Dallas Rattlers in the first round of the 2019 MLL Supplemental Draft but did not play last year. When his contract expired, he set his sights on joining the PLL and got entered in the league’s player pool. He emailed every coach asking them to keep him in mind if there was a season. About a month ago, he got the call up from Tierney. 

“It’s been everything,” Colarusso said. 

Despite the headlines that individuals with underlying conditions like diabetes are at greater risk if they contract the virus, Colarusso, an assistant coach at SUNY New Paltz, did not let the current climate deter him.

“It was time for me to get back on the field, see some shots, and be a part of something,” he said. “I wasn't going to let COVID stop me. If it wasn't this year, who knows if I would have had another opportunity.”

The Championship Series training camp was also the first time taking shots of this high caliber while also managing his sugar levels. He wears a Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitoring system that connects to his phone via Bluetooth and lets him monitor his levels without fingersticks. He also keeps his insulin needles on the sidelines and brings a Gatorade to sip on in case his numbers dip. He said the process so far had been pretty “smooth.”

That’s probably not the word most would use to describe facing shots from the best players in the world. Colarusso and Ready agreed that Neumann and Chaos LSM Matt Rees had two of the hardest shots in terms of pure speed but noted Connor Buczek and Ryan Brown on the Atlas proved the most challenging. 

“As a group, I would say the Atlas have the heaviest shooters,” Ready said. “They can really bring the heat.”

Still, both goalies stood up to the task. 

“My man JD Colarusso looked down the barrel of some heavy shooters and opened some eyes!” Chaos starting goalie and Colarusso’s former Albany teammate Blaze Riorden tweeted.

Colarusso hopes the experience will lead to an opportunity at training camp next year and serve as another step in his journey back to the pinnacle of the sport. 

“I don't want to stop here,” he said. “I want the chance to be able to make a team next year and have an impact. I'm going to do whatever it takes.”

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